Monday, October 31, 2005


Here are the girls in their lion costumes. This is the first Hallowe'en that Sarah has shown any sign of being aware of what is happening (and little at that). She found this idea of answering the door and giving candy to the kids absolutely wonderful. And then mom took them to a few houses along the street and both girls loved that too, although they apparently wanted to go inside and visit at each house. They would have gone much farther but mom found it a tiring process. All over until next year...

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Next Sunday's lectionary includes the "As for me and my house" passage from Joshua 24. A time to talk about choices.

One of the things I admire about the Deuteronomic tradition in the Jewish Scripture is the emphasis on choice (an emphasis best summarized in Deut 30 when Moses offers the people a choice between life and death). I admire this because I see that choice as a constant, not as a once and for all.

Day after day God calls us to choose between one path and another--the narrow and the wide as you will. Day after day we are faced with competing "gods". And how well do we choose?

My instinct tells me that we need to name the difficulty of this choosing. My instinct tells me that this passage is best paired with some of the "difficult" sayings of Jesus (let the dead bury their own dead comes to mind). To be a follower of The Way means being counter-cultural at times, perhaps a great deal of the time. What gods get in our way as we shout out "we choose God's way!"?

Friday, October 28, 2005

Advent Devotional Book

THe RevGalBLogPals have put out a book!!

It is a volume of daily devotionals for Advent/Christmas. Proceeds from sales are going to support the residents of the US Gulf Coast affected by hurricane damage.

You can find the book here (the price will go up in a couple of weeks):

On Sale now for $9.99! down from retail price of $12.99.

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

A colleague of mine found out that Lulu offers free international shipping for orders of $25 and up. I plan to order after talking to some people on Sunday about it.

The RGBP are also starting planning and work on a devotional book for Ordinary Time. For more info on that go to the RGBP blog.

Phantasmagorical Phriday Phive (from RGBP)

  1. Favorite Halloween Candy Candy Corn. THe one time of year that anything outstrips chocolate (although I can only eat so much before feeling ill).
  2. Least Favorite Halloween Candy Tootsie Rolls. NEver developed a taste for these things and they are ever so prevalent.
  3. Best Costume Ever THis one is a 3 way tie. In my teens I made a number of costumes myself. One was Zorro (made a sword and scabbard for it and everything). Another was modelled roughly on Gimli from LOTR. The third was an Indian costume for which I carved a musket out of styrofoam, carved arrowheads from soap scraps, and made a bow (which almost even worked). Hm, wonder whatever happened to that creativity and energy...
  4. Worst Costume Ever What comes to mind is a costume I attempted to make in Grade 6. Got the idea out of a book of "simple" crafts. Couldn't see a thing or move without clubbing someone with the broomstick arms of the silly thing. I was proud of making it though.
  5. A Saint you treasure Non-traditional definition: the SUnday School teacher who started teaching when I was in Grade 4, mentored me when I started teaching with her in my late teens, and is still teaching Grade 4-6 at that church. More Traditional: As surprised as I am to realize it, St. Paul. I have something of a love-hate relationship with him.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A TV Meme

Recognizing that I watch FAR FAR FAR too much of the silly box I thought I would create a meme around TV. Feel free to use/adapt as you see fit. Let me know if you take it up...

  1. Was your first TV Black&White or Colour? Ours was B&W. If memory serves we didn't get a colour TV until after I was 5. Friends of ours didn't get a colour TV until some years after that.
  2. Did you have cable as a child? When (if ever) did you first get cable? Nope. Mom and Dad saw no need for cable (they still don't have it). I have only had cable when living in small communities where there was little choice. First time was my first internship in 1994.
  3. What genre of TV is your favourite? Tend to prefer sitcoms by and large--I usually watch TV to escape and they are certainly escapist. Last few years I have watched more hour long dramas and "dramedy"
  4. What is your favourite show of all time? Tough one. Night Court comes to mind. Law and Order (the original) is another prospect. Joan of Arcadia stands up there as well--too bad it didn't last.
  5. TV Cartoons. Good and bad. Which ones stand out? Looney Tunes (or Bugs Bunny/Roadrunner Hour or whatever name you know it by) as good. Rocket Robin Hood or Hercules as kind of tacky (although I watched them a lot). And of course the Flintstones stands in a separate place --what would lunch hour have been without them?
  6. What was/is your favourite Educational TV? I am a product of the Sesame Street generation. That and Mr. Dress-Up.
  7. Many shows have jumped from small to big screen. What is one that you are surprised hasn't made the leap? Six-Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman. Imagine doing those with computer aided effects.
  8. Jeopardy or Millionaire? Jeopardy, no contest.
  9. What big moments do you remember best (or only) because of TV? There are lots of those. I remember getting up at 4am to watch Charles and DIana's wedding. Or the shuttle explosion. In looking back I think we got better coverage of big events before the advent of 24 hour, must stay on repeating the same thing, news coverage.
  10. Do you watch too little, just enough, or too much TV? WAAAAAAAAY too much.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Right yet Guilty

ROsa Parks has died. AS most know, even those like myself who were born long after the fact and in a different country, her refusal to give up her seat and subsequent arrest were a spark that helped light the flame of the civil rights movement in the American SOuth.

And yet, it can be asked "what did she do wrong?". On the one hand, absolutely nothing. On the other, she was in clear violation of a legally binding statute (an immoral one yes but still legally binding). THis brings to mind a thought process I go through every year around Good Friday.

For centuries Christians have insisted the Jesus of Nazareth was unjustly executed because he did nothing wrong. Many have theologized this into the perfect, unblemished sacrifice. BUt he too broke the law of his day. If he said even half of what he is reported to have said about the political and social structures of his world he was guilty of treason in that world. But still he did nothing wrong.

In the history of Canada we have a man named Louis Riel. Distressed at the treatment of his Metis people he led two armed insurrections. He was arrested, convicted of treason, and hanged. Now there is a movement to have his conviction set aside because he was doing what he had to in order to protect his people.

What all these things have in common is that they make a similar mistake. People seem to think that if you do nothing wrong then any conviction is invalid. BUt all three of these individuals broke the law in their place and time. All three were legally convicted (however legal conviction was measured in each place and time). And all three can be argued to have done nothing worthy of the punishment the recieved. THe thing is that right and wrong are not always bound by the legal system. Right and wrong, in the long term, are decided by history. As people like Gandhi and Martin Luther King knew, as did an itinerant Nazarene some 2000 years ago, sometimes to do what is right you have to chance conviction.

As we remember Rosa PArks and all like her who chose to be both guilty and right, let us hope that we have that courage. The courage to say that there is right and there is legal, and sometimes they aren't the same.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Semper Ecclesia Reformanda Est

(The Church is always reforming)

Jan has started a meme (hat tip to the RGBP) asking two questions:

What are you going to be for Halloween? I am not planning on being anything. But the girls will be a lion and an elephant.

What 95 Things Need to Change in Church in the Year of our LORD 2005? Jan listed 5. I think I will give that a go (95 would take me all week and I have to leave for a meeting in 15 minutes)
  1. The church needs to redefine words like growth, success, evangelism, love, truth to match what the church wants them to mean, not what the world around us says they mean.
  2. The church needs to learn that God's plan for the Kingdom is not met by following the platform of ANY political party.
  3. The church needs to rediscover passion and the pure delight of living.
  4. The church needs to remember that neither change nor tradition are automatically good or bad. They have their place, we just need to have the skill to discern which is needed when.
  5. The church needs to BELIEVE, and not just say, that buildings are not the church. They are a tool we use to help us be the church. Furthermore, the building is a chance for stewardship and outreach--not a private clubhouse for those properly indoctrinated.

And of course there are others (see yesterday's post for some of them)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Successful Church Thoughts

A while back I posed the question about what makes a church successful. I don't have an answer to what brings success but I do have some thoughts about the markers of a successful church:

  1. They don't care if they have money in the bank. They might or might not but it doesn't guide their decisions.
  2. A year where they make a profit is a bad year--bad because they didn't spend enough/give to enough causes.
  3. Their focus is outward. They relate their faith to the world around them and live it out.
  4. They don't count heads each week and fret about how it compared to the year before.
  5. They are often truly intergenerational--with a real mix, not just token members of any one age range.
  6. Growth is a spiritual term, not a numbers game.
  7. The building is so heavily used it is hard to find a free time for a new event--any funeral involves bumping a group.
  8. The people who go there can't help but talk about everything that is happening. And their excitement is contagious.
  9. They don't all agree about everything, they don't think they have to agree about everything, but they can discuss their differences civilly because they take each other's point of view seriously (even when they will never agree).
  10. They embrace change when needed, but not just for the sake of change.
  11. Decisions are made only after considering "How does this help us further the Reign of God?".

Now if I could think of a church that lived up to all of those, or even most, I would be more hopeful.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Game Meme

(Courtesy of jo(e) )

Game that makes me think of summer evenings and freshly cut grass: Hide and Seek. Mother May I. What Time is it Mister Wolf. These are some of the games we would play in the cul-de-sac across from my childhood home--all the girls and I (for periods there were few male children on that block).
Games that we never finished: We always did finish Monopoly (dad always cleaned up) but would rarely finish a card game called "Big Bertha"--we would spend over 2 days working on this one during Christmas holidays.
Game which has caused the most injuries: If played well hide and seek. We would run right into the steel light post to call "home free".
Game that my kids love that I hate: As yet my kids are too young to really be into games. I am sure that there will be some that fit the category.
Games that my kids have played that I have not: See previous question
Appalling game for children: Red Rover. As an adult leading programs I have been one of the people to call for the banning of this game. Just have seen to many neck, head, wrist, and shoulder injuries (and near misses).
Something I hated about childhood games:Looking foolish. Especially at school. I was an unathletic, awkward child.
Game that scared me: Baseball. Playing in our local league I was beaned a couple of times and from then on was never really comfortable standing at the plate.
Game that involved laundry: Super heroes. Who hasn't tied a towel around their neck and pretended to fly? Also, while not strictly a game, we spent many days taking sheets and towels and lawn furniture to make forts in the backyard.
Game that brings out my competitive streak: To be honest, almost anything. I am often surprised how competitive I can be. (I have been known to curse the computer while playing Monopoly against it -- the rolls just don't seem random or fair at times.)
Games we played at birthday parties: I don't recall a lot of these. I assume the standards like Pin-the-Tail on the donkey when I was small. But then both my sister and I had at least one party where we went bowling (5Pin). That was very special at our age.
Earliest memories of a game: I learned cribbage as soon as I could add. But that was later. I guess Go Fish is my earliest memory. That and Crokinole. Or Croquet outside.
Card game played most often up at camp: While camping in the rain one year the four kids (we were with friends) spent whole days in one of the trailers yelling our throats raw playing "PIT". For some reason our parents always went to another trailer while we played?
Game I used to play with my grandmother: This is an easy one. Cribbage. My grandmother could (and did) spend hours playing cribbage. And I have yet to meet ANYONE for whom the cards fell as luckily as they did for her. In my lifetime she got at least 2 "29" hands.

Friday, October 21, 2005

THe Friday Five

Have to do them early this morning since we are heading to "the city" for the day.

  1. What was the last CD you purchased? Um, I think it was "Swimmin' Like a Bird" By UCCan musician Linnea Good which I bought over a year ago. (Although we may have bought one for the girls since then)
  2. Did you like it? YES, I like all of Linnea's music.
  3. Is it the kind of music you would call your favorite? One of may favourites I'd say. I also favor Celtic/Celtic rock and some Country.
  4. What was the first album (CD for you youngsters) you ever owned? First one I remember being for me alone was the Star Wars Soundtrack (my sister and I had some children's albums that were "ours" but that doesn't count.
  5. And what was your favorite cut from that recording? Always have liked that menacing music everytime Vader appears "dum dum da dum dum da dum dum da dum" Very dramatic.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

When is it too much?

After several weeks of considering it I have removed Relapsed Catholic from my blogroll. Of course that is of interest to nobody. But the deciding to do so posed a quandary for me.

I kept the site because I felt it important to read people with who I disagree, I think everybody should read people with whom they disagree. But the lack of a comments option and the fact that the site was more and more starting to feel like the blog equivalent of a drive-by shooting got to be too much. But still I have to ask myself: when is it too much? What makes it impossible to listen to someone else?

King Economics??

No not the economics of a king but a world where economics is King.

Take a look at this post by Richard Hall for more.

Let the revolution commence forthwith. Down with the King!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

BLessings, Many Many Blessings

This morning I am standing in the church kitchen putting top crusts on pies when suddenly I hear "Dadyy, daddy daddy daddy!"

Sarah has just gotten down the stairs and comes running into the kitchen, around all the obstacles, to see me; big grin on her face. Very happy to see daddy (although she also LOVES going over to the church at any time).

And here is the real kicker. THis is a regular happening. I come home and get ecstatic greetings from both daughters and the dog. Am I lucky? NO, way more than lucky. I am blessed. Thanks be to GOd.

Who are my jailers?

REad this post over at Possible Water earlier this week and it has stuck with me.

I have had many many years of seeking approval from others. Still do it to a degree (but not nearly as bad as I once was). And it is true, it does make you captive to their faintest smile, or downturned lip, or bad mood, or...

SO I have to wonder. Who are my jailers now? ANd who would I like them to be?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Hey! It's only October!

This is what the dog and I got to walk in today. We were a little damp when we got back.

Monday, October 17, 2005


NO, not to me. But to the far more important person in the house, my partner Patty -- 36 years young.

Just got back from our regular afternoon coffee where she was surprised with a great big cake (still have 50% of it to deal with, gave the rest to people at the restaurant).

HAve a great day my love.

Church and State: Taxation (Addendum)

Meant to mention in yesterday's post that I fully expect to see at least some changes in the way church properties and employees are taxed by the end of my lifetime. I think we will find that it is part of moving beyond Christendom.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

So I am addicted to the things...

You Are Italian Food

Comforting yet overwhelming.
People love you, but sometimes you're just too much.
Just couldn't resist this one.

Church and State: Taxation

From time to time I find myself mulling over the relationship between the church and civil government. In keeping with this morning's reading of "Render unto Caesar..." I found myself thinking about taxation while walking the dog this afternoon.

In Canada much church property is exempt from property taxes. Also, clergy housing is allowed as tax-free income (in most cases, it is more complicated in the case of clergy couples). And in Ontario a manse/rectory within a certain distance of the church and inhabited by the local clergy is only taxed at 50% of its value. These factors may well keep the doors open at many struggling churches -- imagine having to pay property tax on the massive downtown churches that not only have a large building but are on prime land and so would have an immense value (whether it is good stewardship to hold on to all that value in real estate is a whole other question). But I often wonder is that a good thing?

I have often heard the arguement that because of our tax-exempt status the churches should be less politically active. I don't buy the argument but it does get made, on both sides of the 49th parallel. I also wonder if the church isn't getting a bit of a free ride. What do we do that "deserves" these tax exemptions? There was a time when churches provided many services that are now funded by tax dollars. BUt now? Other than some attempts to pick up thjose who fall through the cracks...

Is it time for churches to see their role differently? Is it time that clergy housing, for one, is no longer tax exempt--with clergy salaries adjusted accordingly? I think it definitely is time on that one. If nothing else, it makes clergy salaries look much more accurate (my salary is $29 000 but with housing and everything my actual income is about $40 000, more if housing was taxable and the salary adjusted to cover off the tax difference). Is it time to have the churches pay property tax? Not only would this be a windfall for many governments but it would push the churches too. Maybe then we would talk seriously about the ethics of holding such vast amounts of real estate. MAybe then we could honestly say that we are contributing more to the welfare of our society. And maybe then there wouldn't be that small voice in the back telling us to not get political because of our tax exempt status. Not that many of us listen to that voice but maybe we need to get rid of it for good.

Just some idle thoughts while walking the dog on a glorious sunny warm October day.

I Would Think SO!

You are a Believer

You believe in God and your chosen religion.
Whether you're Christian, Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu..
Your convictions are strong and unwavering.
You think your religion is the one true way, for everyone.
Mind you I could do without the last sentence, which is SOOO wrong. And the second last one is pretty misleading too.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Of CLergy and Unions

The news hit last November. A group of UCCan clergy had approached the Canadian Auto Workers with the proposal to unionize the clergy of the United Church of Canada.

THe stated reason was that clergy within this denomination are being treated terribly by both congregations and by the church courts. A union, so the argument goes, would provide a voice for these poor powerless clergy and would help them fight for the rights which are being trampled on a seemingly regular basis.

Now don't get me wrong. I am under no misapprehension about the reality of church disfunction. Most certainly there are clergy who get a raw deal (to say the least). OF course there are also clergy who get away with gross misconduct. But in the last 11 months I have yet to see anything that suggest a union will solve anything. Unions are a great thing, in the right places and times, but the fact is that our polity already gives clergy a very loud voice in policy setting (the application of said policies is sometimes another matter, the church is a political entity and it shows). In fact, if such a union were formed our polity would have to change completely. As it stands we are both management and proletariat--and you can't be both.

But I can live with a changed polity. I may not like it but I can live with it. My fear is more about what such a thing will end up saying about our approach to ministry. My fear is what this will do to our relationships within the church, a church which is already prone to a "we-they" mentality in many different places. My fear is what this will mean to how I can live out my call. Will it be enough to push me out? DOubtful. BUt I suspect it will make our work terribly difficult at least through the transition phase as we learn a whole new way to be the church.

THe latest news is that the organizers seek a 60% sign up rate within Ontario and will then ask for certification without a general vote (of course if they get 60% a vote would be largely redundant). And of course the rules will then have to change for the national church. There is no word about level of support. Under the guise of confidentiality and protecting people from retribution for participating the whole thing has an aura of secrecy about it. THat worries me. If something is worth doing, it is worth doing in the light. By the end of November we should know how it falls out. BUt no matter what happens, some of the damage has already been done. You can't unring the bell.

THere are problems in this church. The problems that the union organizers have identified (and many others) do exist. But we always talk about the church needing to be different from the rest of society. If indeed we mean that then let us work HARD to find a different way to solve our problems. After almost a year of contemplation and of seeking information I still say the union is not the panacea. In fact I still believe it would make things worse.

And still I worry what this all will mean in the end.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Seminary NEVER Told Me...

That a rolling pin was a necessary tool for ministry.

Every year the UCW (and helpers) make pies as a fundraiser. THey make apple (fresh peeled apples, no canned filling here) and raisin. I mean we are talking in the neighbourhood of 5-600 pies each year. Four mornings are set aside over 2 weeks and a group gathers to peel apples, roll pastry, fill shells, and bag the pies. Mind you I am sure that more talking happens than working at times. A great project, not only is it the major source of income for the UCW but a great community building time as well.

Yes, a rolling pin and a love of flour under the fingernails are necessary tools for ministry.

The Friday Five

  1. The weather in your location Cloudy, threatening rain. Around 11 Celsius
  2. Where you are typing this At the desk in the manse. Day off is Friday (nominally anyway)
  3. Where you might like to be sitting if you could be anywhere Well a cruise sounds nice :) But so does sitting by a nice fire curled up with the girls.
  4. A chore you have to do this weekend Walk the dog, rake the leaves, set up tables and chairs for Sunday morning. Oh you only wanted one??
  5. Something delightful you will do or would like to do this weekend Would love to be heading out to the lakeshore. Will have a walk with the girls to the playground.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What Makes a Successful Church?

This SUnday is the culmination of our Stewardship campaign. Instead of a full sermon I will give some opening thoughts and then invite the congregation into table group discussions (we are having a pot-luck lunch afterwards and I figured we may as well sit at tables the whole time rather than set them up after the service).

These discussion groups will be a chance for people to talk to each other what their gifts to Riverview have accomplished over the last 50+ years.

What they don't know is that this is the beginning of a process in my mind. Assuming these table discussions go well (and maybe even if they don't) I intend to do this again. I think that this is the way to get people talking about where this congregation could/should go. I see this as a way to get people talking about questions of vision and mission.

At some point in these discussions I will get them to talk about how they will know if Riverview is a "successful" church. What are the signs of success? My denomination continues to consider a New Church Development successful when they build a building--and I find that to be an odd measuring stick.

SO for now I put the question out into the blogosphere. Feel free to comment here or on your own blog (if the latter please let us know in this comments section). What do you consider the hallmarks of a successful congregation? I have to give the answer some more thought myself but I will post more when I get those thoughts in order.

I Think this is Good

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Possessing a rare combination of wisdom and humility, while serenely dominating your environment you selflessly use your powers to care for others.
Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.

Galadriel is a character in the Middle-Earth universe. (An elf queen, one of the oldest inhabitants of Middle-Earth, she is a source of great wisdom and great power.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

What Needs to Die? -- a newspaper column

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)

Christian faith teaches us that we need no longer fear death. Death is no longer an ending but a new beginning. Now hands up everyone who has no trouble believing this.

Anyone drop their paper in their rush to put up their hands? I am guessing not many. Death is still hard to accept. And possibly even harder still are the multitudes of little deaths we encounter throughout our lives. You see, every change in our life is a little death. When we accept change, willingly or otherwise, it means something has to die to make room for the new.

Within social change models there are two important questions to ask. One is “what are you willing to die for?”. The other is “what needs to die so that life can flourish here?”. I think that the second is often more important.

What needs to die to make room for new life in Atikokan? What needs to be given a proper farewell and burial so that a new path can emerge? And are we willing to make that happen?

We are afraid of change, the bigger the change the bigger the fear. We are often afraid that if we let the old go there will be nothing to fill the void. The temptation is to hold on to the old until we are sure what will be there next. This happens to us as individuals, as families, as churches, as communities, even as countries. But the quote from John’s gospel at the head of this column shows us the problem with that. Sometimes, when we try to hold on too tightly we stop the death and rebirth from happening. Sometimes we need to cast what we have aside and let it become something else

At many levels our society is on the edge of massive changes. As those changes happen old ways of living and thinking will die. But in their death they open the way for new ways of living and thinking. They open the way for much fruit to follow. What has to die so that you can have life in abundance? What has to die so that the whole Creation can have life in abundance?

Will I see you at the funeral for and celebration of what was as we look to what may be? Or will we keep holding so tightly to our own grains that we don’t let God’s possibilities germinate and take root?

Worth a Read

I encourage you to take a look at this post over at Grover's Corners. I have never heard of National Coming Out Day but it makes sense.

Anyway, one of the very annoying parts of the debate around same-sex rights are the assumptions I keep hearing about how orientation is chosen, or how it can be changed, ot many many others. This list of questions is a great way to push us to look at the inanity of some of those assumptions.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Well Maybe...

Your Brain's Pattern

Your mind is an incubator for good ideas, it just takes a while for them to develop.
But when you think of something, watch out!
Your thoughts tend to be huge, and they come on quickly - like an explosion.
You tend to be quiet around others, unless you're inspired by your next big idea.
That sure is reading a whole lot into which picture strikes my fancy at the time (but there is truth there too).

A Bit of a Laugh

(Before reading this story one needs to be aware that I am "follicly challenged")

One morning I was playing the "name the body part game" with Sarah. SHe is doing great with ears and eyes and hands. Even counting them. Then I point to the top of my head and say "what's this?"

HEr response. "No Hair". PAtty almost fell over laughing.

Just can't get a break around here--and her grandfather wasn't even around to coach her. It just came out naturally.

Of Children and House Cleaning

It is the Thanksgiving holiday in Canada so I am celebrating by cleaning house (actually I started by printing out and putting in envelopes the final letters for the church Stewardship program).

I have some observations"
1. The dog needs to learn to pick up after herself--at least another dog's worth of hair in all the corners (or maybe that speaks to how often we vacuum said corners)
2. I should check with others before cleaning--that toilet is super clean, having been done twice today.
3. What is it that makes the bath mat backing adhere so firmly to the bathroom floor and so badly to the actual bath mat itself?
4. Only one of my children is likely to do any house cleaning. I turn on the vacuum to do the stairs and bedrooms. Child #1 and the dog flee in terror to mommy's arms. Child #2 follows me up the stairs with a "what are you doing daddy?" look on her face. Honestly I have only threatened to vacuum the dog, she just hates the noise (as does C#1).

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Yeah, Right...

You Should Get a JD (Juris Doctor)

You're logical, driven, and ruthless.
You'd make a mighty fine lawyer.
Logical and driven sometimes maybe. But ruthless?? Never been called that. Besides, I would never do enough work to get a law degree.

OF Beginnings and Endings

This afternoon I was at a baby shower. Twins born at the end of August. (As it happens this couple was one of the first weddings I did after arriving here--the message about setting a date was on my desk when I got into town). At the same time that the shower was happening there was, somewhere else in town, a "tribute" being held for someone whose funeral I expect to do before Christmas. And of course part of me says I should have been there too. But realistically that was not doable (and the latter not only was announced later but it was hardly announced--I only knew about it by passing a small poster in the mall).

But it does strike me how these two events are both so incredibly apt on Thanksgiving Weekend. At one new life was being welcomed. At the other the gifts of a pioneer in this town were being honoured. Such is the glory of the church. Few other places allow, nay encourage, us to be part of the whole life cycle, to be truly intergenerational.

Of course it doesn't end yet. Someday I will baptize those twins. Someday I will bury that pioneer. And life will go on. Life will go on. Thanks be to God.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A "Friday Five" (from the RevGal Pals)

1) What is your earliest memory of church?
Unquestionably Friday night potluck suppers. These were monthly events where the kids got to sit at the short tables without parents there to harass you about manners and all that dull stuff. Then we could all run around the church basement while dishes and coffee were happening.

2) How old were you when you first took Communion?
Um, we were still in the old sanctuary so I was under 14. And I was still in Junior Choir, and so and so was the minister...must have been about 10 or 11. Got chastised for it by my dad later since only confirmed members were to take communion at that point in time (now we have a much more open table--all welcome)

3) What is your favorite Bible verse/passage?
Matthew 25:31-46 ( sheep and the goats "whatever you did for the least of these...") Runner up goes to 1 Cor 13.

4) What verse/passage nicks you uncomfortably?
Luke's (6:20-26) version of the beatitudes. I always feel that I am in the "woe to you" category.

5) What's your favorite hymn or praise song?
Only ONE???? But there are so many... "In the Bulb there is a Flower" is on my family's funeral list for sure. "Lord of the Dance" is a fave since childhood. And of course there is "I Was there to Hear Your Borning Cry"--sang that one at our wedding. Not a fair question to only choose one--one per church season I might be able to do, and one for each type of special service (communion/Baptism/funeral etc)

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Charlie Brown
You are Charlie Brown!
Which Peanuts Character are You? (brought to you by Quizilla )

My vote would be Linus--but Chuck does come a close second

BUt I don't really like the stuff!

You Are Apple Cider

Smooth and comforting. But downright nasty when cold.
THought I would do this one in honour of the fact that I started raking leaves this afternoon (although over half the leaves in our yard have yet to fall)

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Drainage Would Be Nice...

This is what we get after less than 25 hours of rain. (top picture is from the front doorstep). 3 years ago they rebuilt the sewer line in front of the house and ever since then drainage has been an "issue"--you should see it in the spring!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


9:6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
9:7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

The above comes from the epistle reading for Thanksgiving in year A (2 Corinthians 9:6-15). It seems to me that Thanksgiving should be one of the holiest days of the faith year, possibly ranking with Easter and Pentecost for Christians. Thanksgiving is central to our faith because it reminds us to consider The Source.

In a world where the highest compliment paid seems to be that so-and-so is a "self made man [sic]" or where we are constantly told to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps Thanksgiving reminds us that all we have flows from the Creator. In a world where we so often take what we have as a right and/or for granted Thanksgiving reminds us that we have been given many great gifts. In a world where "the one who dies with the most toys wins" seems to be the guiding philosophy Thanksgiving reminds us to pause and count the uncountable gifts too.

But most of all Thanksgiving can lead us from self-centeredness into being a "cheerful giver". Thanksgiving is all about recognizing abundance in the midst of scarcity messages. Thanksgiving tells us that we have more than enough and so what better to do but share it with others. What holier message is there than that? Thanksgiving pushes us to be good stewards of what we have been given. And what is more, Thanksgiving needs to be reclaimed. It is not about gorging ourselves on turkey once a year. Nor is it about an extra day to hunt moose (the Ontario moose season opens this weekend). Nor is it about the Macy's parade in November (for our US-an friends). In fact Thanksgiving is not meant to be a once a year "thanks for all the times we forget to say it" thing. God calls us to live lives that are filled with thanksgiving. God's bounty is around us in so many ways all the year, how can we help but be generous not only in our sharing but in our thanks and praise.

Happy Thanksgiving (and Giving Thanks) to all!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Kids in the Observer

Last Spring the United Church Observer invited families to send for seeds. The request was that you took pictures of you child(ren) beside the plants in flower and send them back to the OBserver. The pictures are in this month's issue--this picture included (page 41)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ad Slogans...

Hat tip to Sue for the Sloganizer. Here are my favourites:

It's Not TV. It's Following Frodo
Be Like Dad, Keep Following Frodo.
A Finger of Following Frodo is Just Enough to Give Your Kids a Treat.
Two Hours of Following Frodo in Just Two Calories.

Turn Loose The Gord.
Gord Saves Your Soul.
Don't Just Book It, Gord It.
With A Name Like Gord, It Has To Be Good.

Garden Produce

Our organist had some pepper plants she couldn't use so we planted them. We got about as many again of the Bell peppers (they were picked after this picture was taken). Not bad for a first try at the things!